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Rostov Grand Prix 2011 - Final Report

User Rating: / 0
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Update special by Chess Coach William Stewart of OnlineChessLessons.NET

Players of the 2011 Women's Grand Prix - CLICK TO ENLARGE - Image Courtesy of

This 12 player round robin tournament featured many of the strongest female
players in the world, boasting an average FIDE rating of 2527. The Women's
Grand Prix in Rostov was absolutely dominated by 17 year old Chinese phenom
GM Hou Yifan (Yifan Hou), who finished in 1st place with 8/11 points and a
2697 performance rating.  Hou's perfect 4-0 start enabled her to coast to
the finish, although Ukraine's Kateryna Lahno attempted to come back with
late victories over Yifan Hou and Stefanova Antoaneta in rounds 9 and 10.
Former world champ Alexandra Kosteniuk must have been disappointed with a
tough tournament, finishing at 3/11 with 0 wins, 6 draws, and 5 losses to
end with a performance rating of 2354.

Hou Yifan has been absolutely unstoppable in 2011

After the 4th round of the tournament Hou Yifan had a performance rating
well over 3,000. Since she is only 17 year's old I truly believe we have not
seen this young lady's full growth as a chess player. Watching her games and
how she dominates the female chess scene truly leads me to believe this
young prodigy may have the best chance of taking Judit Polgar's spot
becoming the #1 chess player in the world. (We'll still have to see as her
rating has hovered around 2550-2590 for nearly 2 years now). Ratings aside,
Hou Yifan must be proud of her domination (and the 15,000 euros she's taking
home must bring a smile as well) Despite being such a young talent even her
rivals must have trouble disliking this young prodigy due to her excellent
sportsmanship. This can be exemplified by her beautiful statement from the
Grand Prix's official website:

I like the organization of the tournament. It was comfortable for me to stay here and I really enjoyed playing in this strong event. Of course Ill be very glad if I have a chance to come back here again and participate in more tournaments. Sometimes its normal to lose one game during the tournament So I just decided to continue playing normally last two rounds and Im glad everything finished well."

Watch the Video where Kosteniuk plays against Hou Yifan

*Game Description:* She plays fearlessly with the black pieces and her results have been an accurate reflection of this aggression. Opening with the Ragozin Variation of the Queens Gambit Declined, Hou was able to quickly achieve a dynamic position with tremendous pressure immediately. Kosteniuk was unable to find an active plan and was forced into a passive defense as Hou quickly seized space on both sides of the board with 9. ...g5 and later with 16. b5. With an open H-file and excellent coordination, Hou was able to precisely finish the attack - forcing Kosteniuks resignation after 35. ...Qxe2+.

[Event "2011 Womens Grand Prix"] [Site "Rostov, Russia"] [Date "2011.08.04"] [Round "3"] [White "Alexandra Kosteniuk"] [Black "*Yifan Hou"] [Result "0-1"] [Opening "QGD: Ragozin variation"] [ECO "D38"] [NIC "NI.27"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 c5 8. e3 c4 9. Nd2 g5 10. Bg3 Bf5 11. Be2 Nc6 12. h4 Rg8 13. hxg5 hxg5 14. Rc1 Qe7 15. O-O Bxc3 16. Rxc3 b5 17. a4 a6 18. Qa1 b4 19. Rcc1 Ne4 20. Nxe4 Bxe4 21. a5 g4 22. Qa4 Qe6 23. Rfd1 Rc8 24. Bf4 Qf5 25. Kf1 Qh5 26. Ke1 Bxg2 27. Bd6 Bf3 28. Bxf3 gxf3 29. Bxb4 Qh4 30. b3 Rg2 31. Rc2 Rg1+ 32. Kd2 Qxf2+ 33. Kc1 Qxe3+ 34. Bd2 Rxd1+ 35. Kxd1 Qe2+ {White resigned}

Kateryna Lahno was the only player to give Hou Yifan a loss showing and scored and scored an impressive 2nd place down by only a a full point. Lahno is also a talented young prodigy, only 21 years old and in the top 10 in the world. She still holds the record as the youngest female to ever gain the WGM title (12 years 4 months) and still holds the title of being Ukraine's highest rated female chess player. She came back with quite a streak at the end of the tournament. However her slow played tie-game with GM Humpy Koneru shows that she has yet to fully dominate the field in the way that Hou Yifan has dominated.

Watch the Chess Video where Lahno deliver's Hou Yifan's only Loss!

*Game Description:* Ukrainian GM Kateryna Lahno played a great tournament, eventually finishing in clear 2nd place with 7/11 to Yifan Hou's unstoppable performance with 8/11. This round 9 match-up made things interesting as Lahno gave the Chinese phenom her only loss of the tournament to try to catch up late. Hou's opening led her to a difficult position as she was unable to achieve the dynamic compensation necessary for her inferior pawn structure. It's tough to say exactly where black went wrong, although the forced complications after 17. ...h4!? certainly did not work out well. Maybe a better plan for black would have been to double the rooks on the e-file, however white would be able to force through with e4 and achieve a dangerous space advantage and attack. Instead of the greedy 21. h3?! to hold on to the extra pawn, Lahno chose the aggressive 21. e4! and achieved a decisive kingside attack due to black's lack of coordination. A great game and tournament by GM Lahno, although she was unable to catch up to Hou at the end.

[Event "2011 Womens Grand Prix"] [Site "Rostov, Russia"] [Date "2011.08.12"] [Round "9"] [White "Kateryna Lahno"] [Black "Yifan Hou"] [Result "1-0"] [Opening "QGD: 3.Nc3"] [ECO "D31"] [NIC "EO.64"] 1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 Bb4 4. e3 Nf6 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 O-O 7. cxd5 exd5 8. Bd3 b6 9. Ne2 c5 10. O-O Ba6 11. f3 Bxd3 12. Qxd3 Re8 13. Ng3 Nc6 14. Bb2 c4 15. Qd2 h5 16. Rae1 Re6 17. Qc2 h4 18. Nf5 g6 19. Nxh4 Ng4 20. fxg4 Qxh4 21. e4 Rae8 22. e5 Qxg4 23. Re3 f5 24. Rg3 Qe4 25. Qc1 Qh4 26. Rxf5 Qxg3 27. hxg3 gxf5 28. Qg5+ Kf7 29. Qxf5+ Ke7 30. Qf3 Rg8 31. Bc1 Nd8 32. Bf4 Reg6 33. Qxd5 Ne6 34. Qe4 a5 35. d5 Nxf4 36. gxf4 b5 37. d6+ Kd7 38. Qb7+ Ke6 39. Qe7+ Kd5 40. d7 Rxg2+ 41. Kh1 {Black resigned}

Kosteniuk finishes in last - has a tough tournament ... Kosteniuk being a good sport and keeping a smile through it all.
Photo courtesy of ChessBase

First of all we're big fans of Kosteniuk. Her chess videos and "marketing" of chess as a cool sport has led the way for other people such as myself to use the internet to spread the word and love of chess to newcomers. It's been a very, very tough year for Kosteniuk against many of the competitors, and her rating has undoubtably suffered. Unfortunately this tournament was no exception. Hou Yifan, the current women's world champion, continues to dominate Kosteniuk (the former women's world champion) over and over again. That being said I think all sports players sometimes go through tough times, and Alexandra's previous domination of not only female, but male chess players as well shows that she may be out of her "rut" quite soon. Despite her tough losses, she is still undoubtedly one of the best blitz players in the world, beating players such as Anand and Carlsen in blitz.

Full article on the 2011 Women's Grand Prix can be found on William's site as well as the Official Site

P.S. by check out the women's live rating updates after the event.

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Comments (6)
1. Written by luis on 13:25 16 2011 .
2. Written by on 14:43 16 2011 .
! - ! ! ! .
3. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 16:53 16 2011 .
It is so interesting to follow these analysis. Thank you for adding them to your blog! 
I learn so much by listening to the analysis.. 
Kind Regards, Paul
4. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 04:24 17 2011 .
Hi Paul, 
I'm glad you enjoyed our analyses, please keep up with our YouTube channel for the latest. 
- NM William
5. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 11:08 20 2011 .
Chess Sets
Congo from chessbazaar team !! 
6. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 00:47 24 2011 .
chess player
I feel sorry for KOsteniuk but some times the number one in the world need a good leccion to learn

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